Finland's VTT develops technique that it says enables production of PGA monomer glycolic acid from biobased materials more efficiently than before

FAKSI, Finland , December 5, 2012 (press release) – VTT has developed a method that allows bio-based plastic packaging quality can be improved significantly. The new bio-based plastic packaging is not only the ecological characteristics of the market are better than traditional plastic packaging. Plastic packaging used in the production of oil in the future is possible to replace entirely from renewable raw materials. Plastics used in the manufacture of the annual amount of oil equivalent to about five per cent of the world's total oil consumption. All plastics used in about 40% of the packaging, so the packaging industry under particular pressure to reduce dependence on oil.

Renewable raw materials, use of materials obtained from industry to reduce dependence on oil and reduce the consumption of the carbon footprint. Bio-economy transition, however, requires products that are not only environmentally friendly but also competitive in quality.

VTT has developed a method that enables PGA-plastic monomer or glycolic acid can be produced bio-based raw materials more efficiently.

"Bio-based plastics are a concrete step in the transition towards a bio-economy. The new plastic packaging not only reduce our dependence on oil, but they are also superior properties on the market compared to the plastic packaging, "says VTT's research, Professor Ali Harlin .

Bio-based PGA-plastic barrier or protective properties are excellent. The addition of PGA-plastic biomuovipakkausten traditional structure of their properties can be improved significantly. Packaging films are required properties of strength and heat resistance in addition to, inter alia, air-tightness and water vapor and grease resistance. PGA bio-based plastic is 20 - 30% faster and take up to 20 degrees Celsius higher than the temperature of the market, the most common biodegradable plastic PLA. Furthermore, it is biodegradable PLA plastic quickly, but the rate of degradation can be controlled.

A growing market

Finnish forest industry, bio-based plastics open up new business opportunities: the world's total volume of the packaging market is estimated at about 500 billion euros. The market is growing rapidly, including China and India. Ethical consumption patterns and evolving regulations governing packaging sector towards sustainable development. Currently, about one percent of the world production is bio-based plastic.

Plastics used in the manufacture of the annual amount of oil equivalent to about five per cent of the world's total oil consumption. All plastics used in about 40% of the packaging, so the packaging industry under particular pressure to reduce dependence on oil. Life-cycle analyzes of bio-based plastics, the carbon emissions may be the best, 70% lower than the oil-based plastics.

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